The President of the European University Association held discussions at Obuda University.

At the invitation of Prof. Dr. Levente Kovács, the Rector of Obuda University, Josep Garell, Professor and President of the European University Association (EUA), visited Hungary. Obuda University hosted the meeting organized by the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, where rectors of Hungarian universities met with the President of the EUA. A key topic of discussion was the decision of the European Commission at the end of 2022, which excluded 182,000 students – including 30,000 international students – and 18,000 lecturers from the Erasmus+, Horizon Europe and other direct EU-funded programmes of the Hungarian model-changed universities.

Regarding the background, Prof. Dr. Kovács Levente mentioned that besides the 21 Hungarian universities affected by the commission’s decision, the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference had also appealed to various forums of the European Commission and Council to express their opinions. They had written letters in March 2023, and in June 2023, Prof. Dr. Kovács Levente, along with Prof. Dr. Béla Merkely from Semmelweis University, presented arguments before the Education Committee of the European Parliament. At the May 7 meeting, participants discussed the exclusion of the 21 Hungarian universities from the Erasmus and Horizon Europe programs.

During the EUA President’s visit, he visited three universities: Eötvös Loránd University, Semmelweis University, and Obuda University. Therefore, several rectors and the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference presidency, including Dr. Zita Horváth from the University of Miskolc, Dr. Attila Fábián from the University of Sopron, Dr. Lajos Szabó from Corvinus University of Budapest, Dr. Enikő Sepsi from the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Dr. Eszter Lukács from Széchenyi István University, Dr. Ilona Dr. Pajtókné Tari from Eszterházy Károly Catholic University, Dr. Márta Széll from the University of Szeged, and Dr. Zoltán Dubéczi, the Secretary-General of Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, consulted with Professor Garell and the leaders of the universities. They could react with objective results and documents to the allegations that led to their exclusion from European mobility programs.

The Rector of Obuda University stated, supported by documents, that they could prove categorically that university autonomy was not violated in the new structure, and that the EU-provided resources were reaching their intended destinations, to expand the knowledge of Hungarian youth and strengthen research and development relationships.

According to Prof. Dr. Kovács Levente, the meeting was an important step towards resolving the existing extremely unfair situation, continuing the dialogue, and hopefully achieving a definitive solution to the issue through the visit of the EUA President.

Josep Garell was welcomed in his office by Dr. Balázs Hankó, State Secretary for Higher Education, Innovation, Vocational Training, and Adult Education at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation.

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